My 'Second' Web Design Book? Recommendations?

Hi all,

I’m a novice getting through ‘Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS’ (3rd ed.)… My aim is to eventually either become a professional web designer or to be able to create any kind of website if I start my own business… certainly to at least be justified in having ‘web design’ as a strong skill on my cv (resumé) ;).

I’m wondering, what should be next on my reading list? I want to have it ready the day I finish the last page or exercise in the current book.

I prefer text-books to online tutorials, helps me stay disciplined in learning it.

So what comes next after this book: Should I be looking toward more advanced html and css first… or should it be on to PHP/javascript? Any recommendations?



If you plan on becoming a designer then you don’t really need to look at PHP at all and JavaScript would be low on the list.

Perhaps you should be looking at a book that deals more with the design process itself (wheere the HTML and CSs are the last step in the process - where the finished design is converted into an actual web page).

Some possibilities for a book in that direction would include:

Fresher Styles for Web Designers - New Riders
Universal Design - O’Reilly
Designing the Moment - New Riders
Visual Design for the Modern Web - New Riders
Beautiful Web Design - Sitepoint

Ah well there you go. Such a noob that I don’t know the terminology. Web ‘developer’ then I guess is what I should have said? I want to be able to build sites, the design part is actually low on my list.

I am probably not the right person to answer this as I have an addiction to buying web design books. I agree Sitepoint’s ‘Beautiful Web Design’ was a great book and quick and easy to read. I also found Welling and Thomson’s ‘PHP and MySQL Development’ a real bonus. Checkout Sitepoint’s ‘the art and science of CSS’. Also a good (and free) way to pick up information is on the W3Schools website. This lets you learn the basics of several languages.

I would say yes, delve a little deeper into HTML and CSS before moving on. I really enjoyed Web Standards Solutions by Dan Cederholm. Another favourite is [URL=“”]Pro CSS Techniques.

I don’t think you are alone in using the words ‘web designer’ in this way, and I find that clients don’t differentiate between the two :slight_smile: I would agree with what has been said, go a bit further into html and css but you are bound to need php and mysql, especially if you are going to develop e-commerce sites or even database driven sites.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m wondering which out of ‘CSS Mastery’ and ‘Pro CSS Techniques’ would be best at this stage, hard to decide. Might get both.

Will ‘Web Standards Solutions’ be suitable for the next level of html then? I’m not finding much on intermediate/advanced html itself. I’m getting the impression from that sitepoint book I just finished - and looking at what’s available - that there’s not actually much more to the purely-html side. Just need to learn more tags and new html5 stuff.

Beware of HTML5. Despite all the buzz, it’s not finished yet, and will change before it’s ready (many years from now). And it is really just HTML with a few new elements. I would say concentrate on learning current HTML really well. As you say, there’s not a lot to learn on the surface, but, all the same, there are lots of subtleties with HTML and CSS that take a while to learn well.

You say you want to be able to create ‘any kind of website’. In that case, it’s a good idea to delve—at least a bit—into JavaScript and PHP. SitePoint has great books on those subjects. Another thing to consider is that it might be worth looking onto content management systems (aka CMSs) as these offer ready-made code around which you can build dynamic sites without having to know much about programming. Investing time into learning one or more of these is well worth it.

Thanks for the warning about html5.

I’m dying to get onto javascript. A while back I spent years learning BASIC and C, so can’t wait to get back to programming. Just want to make sure I’m not skipping important steps along the way though. Gotta make it stick. If you say that now’d be an ok time to move straight on to js then I’ll probably have five books on it ordered by tomorrow afternoon!

Because JS is so intimately involved with HTML and CSS anyway, I can’t see why not—as you’ll still keep learning about HTML and CSS as you go. I found that, with HTML and CSS, the best way to learn (after reading a book or two) was to mess with it, study how other sites were built (using tools like Firebug), and following threads on this forum.

In terms of JS, (and since you prefer books), I recommend DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith as a starting point.

I have both and both are good.

I have the earlier (1st) edition of this book, and it covers XHTML and CSS; as far as I see from the synopsis, the newer edition is the same and doesn’t cover HTML5 - which, as ralph said, is no bad thing. I particularly enjoyed this book, because it’s written with a touch of humour. I also have “HTML Mastery”, but found it rather dry by comparison.

Alex Dawson’s book Getting StartED with Building Websites is an excellent read, and goes into considerably more depth than Ian’s excellent primer. [URL=“”]The Links page on my tutorial site has a number of books that I consider worthy of any designer/developer’s bookshelf.

Thanks for the recommendations. I wish I’d gone with DOM Scripting as ralph suggested because the one I got in the end - Javascript: A Beginner’s Guide - was infuriating at times - written poorly and waay too slow. Now done with that and reading CSS Mastery. More regrets because I got an earlier version to save money but I find myself having to look up everything the book teaches… I can’t trust any of it, so much seems out-of-date and like a cheating work-around rather than a high-standards methodical approach - the opposite of the sitepoint book.

The poster was asking about development books and they have already gone through a HTML/CSS book. This is the only reply that comes close to being the right answer.